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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Daily Drift

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The Greatness of the United States is Dying – and Wingnuts are the Ones Killing It

by Allen Clifton
Can someone please explain to me one “great” thing that wingnut ideology has brought to this country? I just don’t get it. Even as much as Republicans worship at the temple of Ronald Reagan, what did he really do? And don’t even give me the “he ended the Cold War” nonsense. The wheels were put in motion for the downfall of the Soviet Union long before Reagan ever became president, he just happened to be the president when it finally all came crashing down.
To be honest, to find the last great Republican we have to go all the way back to the 50′s and Dwight D. Eisenhower, someone who the modern-day GOP would consider a radical socialist if he were running for office today. Eisenhower was a president who presided over much higher taxes than we have today, who built the Interstate Highway System and believed that taxes shouldn’t be cut until the budget was balanced.
That’s what you call “fiscally responsible.”
But it’s rare to see any Republicans cite Eisenhower when spewing their usual right-wing propaganda. They worship Reagan, a man who nearly tripled our national debt in eight years and never once balanced the budget, as a “wingnut icon” – yet mostly ignore the last president from their party who actually showed true fiscal responsibility.
Oh, and Eisenhower was very skeptical of the military industrial complex and the power they might gain over this country… while today’s Republicans can’t line up fast enough to kiss the rings of big defense companies.
But when you look at our history (or even all of human history for that matter), what great things have we seen birthed from conservatism? If anything, their opposition to almost anything and everything that “bucks tradition” is actually the antithesis of progress. Some of humankind’s greatest individuals thumbed their noses at “tradition,” charting their own bold and daring path. Though, sadly, our history also shows that many of these people were attacked, mocked and even sometimes killed for daring to evolve from “what’s always been.”
I’ve even pointed out several times throughout U.S. history where the same states that supported slavery are almost the exact same states that: Opposed giving women the right to vote. Supported segregation. Opposed the Civil Rights Act. Continue to fight against giving equal rights to the LGBT community. It’s almost like clockwork. If there’s a new idea that’s pushing our nation forward, shedding tradition for progress and innovation – it’s wingnuts who are the ones trying to hold us back.
Or we can always look at certain things in this country like Social Security, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, sending a man to the moon and more recently our landmark health care reform - all done by Democratic presidents.
Even when you go back to possibly the most universally respected Republican, Abraham Lincoln, we’re looking at a president who issued an executive order bypassing Congress (the Emancipation Proclamation) to free slaves in rebelling states. In reality, Lincoln is possibly the most “big government” president in our nation’s history considering he started the Civil War against states who claimed slavery was a “states’ rights” issue.
Then when you look at what wingnuts stand for now, it’s basically a push to take us back to the regressive social policies of the 50′s with the same worn out economic polices from the 80′s that have proven time and time again that they don’t work. What “new” ideas have Republicans had lately? They’re running on the same crap they’ve been running on for decades. The only real “difference” among Republicans in our government is how radical one might be from another about pushing the right-wing agenda.
The theory of evolution holds true not just for various species, but for nations as well. Any great nation that fears evolving, or seeks to cling to inferior traditions, is a nation that will eventually ceases to be great. Republicans are right about one thing, the greatness of the United States is dying – and their ignorance is what’s killing it.

Wall St. Journal Poll: Liberals Making Big Comeback

Wall St. Journal Poll: Liberals Making Big Comeback
At the same time wingnuts are slithering back under their rocks and into their sewers where they belong.

Bernie Sanders’ Momentum Is Growing As He Gets 41% Support In Wisconsin Straw Poll

The growing momentum surrounding the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign took another step forward over the weekend. In a display of strength, Sanders got 41% of support in the Wisconsin Democratic Party straw poll to 49% for Hillary Clinton.
Rick Klein of ABC News reported, “Straw polls don’t count for anything, and second place is, well, second place. But how many of these before it will become something? Hillary Clinton captured 49 percent of the vote at the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s convention over the weekend, in a straw poll conducted by WisPolitics.com. The story, though, was second place: Bernie Sanders got 41 percent, just eight points behind Clinton and far ahead of his low-single-digits rivals. It’s the latest sign that Sanders is poised to inherit at least a solid portion of the Ready-for-Warren energy. And it speaks to a longstanding contention that if Clinton is vulnerable, it’s on her left.”
Straw polls are only measures of support by those in attendance. They are not representative samples, so it would be inaccurate to suggest that the result in Wisconsin will translate to the broader electorate. The attendees at events like the state Democratic convention are the dedicated activists. These people are most likely to be drawn to the grassroots activist campaign of Sen. Sanders.
Forner Sec. of State Clinton has tried to reach out to the activist left, but the popularity of Bernie Sanders demonstrates that she still has a lot of work to do in this area. The anti-Hillary activists on the left are galvanizing around Sanders. This is bad news for Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chaffee. O’Malley seems to have been caught completely by surprise by Sanders’ popularity. In a field where there is room for one challenger to Hillary Clinton, O’Malley’s candidacy appears to be redundant and unnecessary.
The segment of the left that thinks Hillary Clinton is too moderate is flocking to Bernie Sanders. As has been shown in previous elections, the activist left is a very small portion of the Democratic Party. The vast majority of Democrats are Obama/Clinton Democrats, but what can’t be denied is that there is real momentum behind the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.
Straw polls are meaningless, but the results in Wisconsin do suggest that the support for Bernie Sanders is very real and that Democrats could be treated to a real primary campaign focused on the issues.

The American People Send A Message To The Supreme Court: Don’t Mess With Our Obamacare

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released on June 8th, finds a strong majority of Americans oppose the Supreme Court taking action to block federal subsidies in states that didn’t set up their own health care exchanges. The survey found that 55 percent of Americans want the Supreme Court to maintain the federal subsidies for low and middle-income families, while only 38 percent of poll respondents want the court to rule against the subsidies in the pending King v Burwell court case.
Predictably, there was a discernible partisan divide on the issue of preserving federal health care subsidies. 65 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Independents argued that the court should not take action to block health insurance subsidies. By contrast, only 34 percent of Republicans felt the same way, with 55 percent of GOP voters saying the court should repeal the subsidies.
In states that have not set up their own exchanges, 53 percent of voters favor keeping the subsidies to just 40 percent who want them eliminated. Although this is a solid majority of voters in those states, it is lower than the 58-33 support for keeping federal subsidies, expressed by voters in the mostly blue states that have set up their own exchanges. While those voters would not be directly affected by the coming Supreme Court ruling, they nevertheless want the federal subsidies to remain intact for their fellow Americans.
The American people have expressed an ambivalent and sometimes contradictory attitude towards Obamacare. Nevertheless, when push comes to shove, it is clear that a decisive majority of Americans want the Supreme Court to leave the health care law alone. The federal health care subsidies made possible by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provide direct benefits to 6.4 million people in 34 states.
Since Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life, they are not sensitive to public opinion in the same way that elected officials are. What the American people think is of little consequence to the members of the court.
However, should the ideologically partisan right-wing justices on the court decide to end the federal Obamacare subsidies, they will create an enormous headache for wingnut lawmakers, who will then have to deal with the fallout from the court’s decision.

Obama Is About To Take Action To Double The Wages Of Millions Of American Workers

President Obama is on the cusp of taking action alone that be the most aggressive move to help workers in decades. Obama is about to double the wages of millions of American workers by closing a loophole that employers have been using to avoid paying overtime.
Politico reported, “The Obama administration is on the verge of possibly doubling the salary levels that would require employers to pay overtime in the most ambitious government intervention on wages in a decade. And it doesn’t need Congress’s permission. As early as this week, the Labor Department could propose a rule that would raise the current overtime threshold — $23,660 – to as much as $52,000, extending time and a half overtime pay to millions of American workers.”
As reported when the news of this new rule surfaced in April, “Millions of workers in the service sector have been victimized for years by the tactic of being labeled a manager, but not receiving commensurate pay for the position. By not paying managers overtime, corporate giants can keep wages artificially low. With a stroke of President Obama’s pen, millions of workers will be paid for the extra hours that they are currently working for free.”
The President’s executive action will apply to all workers who are classified as managers, but are earning under the overtime threshold. The retail and service sectors have been avoiding overtime rules for years by classifying employees as managers to avoid paying them the full compensation that they deserve.
Republicans are responding to the new rule with the same argument that they make against any change that would benefit workers. Republicans are claiming that the new overtime rule will kill jobs. The point that Republicans ignore is that having a job doesn’t do a worker any good if that job doesn’t pay enough to pay the bills.
President Obama has scored several victories for labor during his presidency. Obama has also implemented a new rule that would speed up the process for workers to unionize. After decades of defeats, President Obama has given workers some serious momentum. Obama is empowering labor and reversing a trend that goes back to the Reagan administration.
Obama is doing what Republicans in Congress refuse to do, and by acting alone, he is going to make the lives of millions of Americans better by using some common sense fairness to make sure that workers are getting paid what they really earn.

Obama Drives a Stake Through Republican Hearts By Dropping A Fact Bomb About His Economic Success

obama G7 press conference
President Obama drove a stake through Republican narratives about him at the G-7 Summit on Monday, pointing out that since he took office, the United States cut our deficit by two-thirds. A fact you would not know if you only listened to Republicans or the media.
“Since I took office, the United States has cut our deficit by two-thirds,” President Obama said at the G-7 Summit, wounding Republican deficit hawks to the core. Though to be fair, Republicans only started caring about the deficit once they were no longer at the helm and thus unable to continue recklessly driving it up by charging everything.
Here’s a handy chart to demonstrate just how much the deficit has reduced under President Obama, from the White House:
Deficit reduction under Obama
Republicans must not have enjoyed the President’s presser on Monday in which he correctly took ownership of a multitude of positive economic news on issues that Republicans pretend to be experts on from private sector jobs to the deficit.
“We agree that the best way to sustain the global economic recovery is by focusing on job and growth. That is what I am focused on in the United States,” President Obama said.
“On Friday we learned that our economy created another 200,080 jobs in May, the strongest month of the year so far, and over 3 million over the past year, the nearly fastest pace in over a decade.” Obama continued, “We’ve now seen 5 straight years of private sector job growth. 12.6 million new jobs created, the longest streak on record.”
Ouch. The President was referring to the incredible news on Friday that he set a new record for private sector job growth, with the private sector adding 12.6 million jobs over 63 straight months of job growth. Even the normally unimpressed were called it a “robust” report.
“The unemployment rate is near its lowest level in seven years. Wages for American workers continue to rise and since I took office, the United States has cut its deficit by two-thirds,” President Obama said.
“So, in the global economy, America is a major source of strength, at the same time we realize that while growing the global economy while growing is still not performing at its potential and we agreed on a number of steps,” the President continued setting the stage for the agreed upon agenda of the Summit.
At the G-7 Summit, the leaders are addressing diverse issues from sustainable development to promoting peace to trade to advancing women’s economic empowerment. According to the White House fact sheet on the Summit, “The President met with the other Leaders of the G-7 at Schloss Elmau, Germany on June 7-8 to make tangible progress on a wide range of economic, security, and development priorities. The G-7 stands resolved in its commitment to uphold the values of freedom and democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
It hasn’t been a good few days for Republicans, with conservative David Brooks noting that Obama has run a scandal-free administration, saying that there are people in Washington who set a standard of integrity and attract people of integrity. Shhh, don’t tell the Republicans in the House who are spending your tax money on endless investigations into non-existent scandals.
The beauty of President Obama’s last two years is he can say it like it is. He is no longer responsible for Democrats in races around the country, and his only partisan job is to take ownership of the achievements under his administration so that the Democrats running in 2016 can ride the wave.
These economic achievements were accomplished while Republicans were derailing them at every turn, including shutting down the government to the tune of billions of dollars, shutting down national security — oh, it’s hard to think of something they haven’t shut down. Republicans might have been able to claim ownership of the deficit reduction, except that not only are they continuing to advocate for policies that caused a large part of the deficit, but their antics and inability to govern and fake investigations have cost the government billions and billions of dollars. So they have added to the deficit in their attempt to bring Obama down. It’s too bad Republicans can’t get on the country first bus, even once, and be a part of the solution.

61 House Democrats Are Taking A Stand Against Corporate America

There is a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.” Now, if Roosevelt were alive today he would certainly not envy corporations that have had an incredibly easy life since Republicans allowed them to control of America and take inordinately huge profits and benefits without exerting any effort, or bearing any costs. Oh it is true there are costs involved in guaranteeing that already highly-profitable corporations continue making obscene profits without putting forth much effort, but with pro-corporate Republicans running the government for the past 14 years the costs have been borne by the poor, the vanishing middle class, and the elderly; it is just the way things are in corporate-controlled America.
Unfortunately, if President Obama, some Senate Democrats, and all Republicans have their way, the American people will continue paying to ensure that corporations have easy lives and continue getting a free ride as a result of the corporate-written Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). It is the corporate trade agreement the cabal running America lusts to see President Obama fast-track to fruition and it is a lust he appears incredibly eager to satisfy. It is likely that after nearly six years of being hated by Republicans and corporate America, he does long to please more than just his liberal base and cement his legacy as a friend to all; including corporate America.
It is bad enough that the TTP will certainly undermine Americans’ jobs, environmental and financial regulations, and give corporations an easier means of hiding their obscene profits offshore to avoid paying taxes, but it is worse that Republicans and some Democrats in the Senate want the elderly to pay for the consequences of the bad trade deal. To soften the damage to workers who will lose their jobs to the trade deal, a couple of Senate Democrats fought tooth-and-nail to include  an incredibly petty provision, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, to garner enough votes to give the President authority to fast-track the TTP and cement his legacy as a pro-trade, or is it pro-corporate, Democratic President.
The TAA is the program that provides retraining services to the workers who will lose their jobs after the TTP is finalized, and assist them to buy health insurance with tax credits out of their pathetic unemployment benefits when they are poverty-stricken. Since corporations cannot be bothered, or expected, to pay for retraining American workers who lost their jobs to the trade deal, Senate Republicans and some Democrats decided that the least the elderly can do is pay for the TAA program out of cuts to their Medicare insurance benefits. For dog’s sake this is America and no red-blooded corporate puppet would think to ask, or expect, the corporations that wrote and will profit from the trade deal to pay for the TAA program; it would be an abomination and so unfair. It just is not the way America under corporate ownership operates and nearly every politician in Washington knows it and votes accordingly.
However, although the Senate believes the elderly should relieve corporations of any burden for funding TAA training and tax credits for American workers displaced by the corporate trade deal, 61 House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stating that although the TAA is an essential part of even a devastatingly bad corporate trade agreement, it is patently unfair to pay for it with “cuts to critical social programs like Medicare.” The 61 House Democrats led by Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva are demanding a new funding mechanism for the cost of TAA for displaced workers; but they did not call for a corporate tax hike to cover the cost. Why? Because this is America and corporations get a free ride which is precisely why Washington politicians let corporations write the trade agreement in secret.
There is some opinion that House Democrats may use the TAA funding issue to thwart the TPP altogether, either by watching House Republicans refuse to fund anything to help American workers and effectively kill a vote on TPP. It is possible that House Democrats will not vote for TPP unless 90 House Republicans first vote to fund TAA and Nancy Pelosi is concerned enough that she is negotiating with GOP leaders to find a new way to pay for TAA and replace the Medicare cuts since keeping them in place could end up killing it, and TPP altogether.
The only given in this whole sordid TPP and TAA affair is that no-one in Washington will demand that the only beneficiaries of the trade agreement, the corporations that wrote it in secret, at least absorb the cost of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program; and why should they? There are millions of elderly Americans who paid into Medicare throughout their entire working lives who can suck it up and do right by corporate America and pay for retraining Americans who will lose their jobs to international trade. Plus, what red-blooded retired American dare refuse to forfeit their health insurance to pay for tax credits to help out-of-work Americans buy health insurance? Republicans have been demanding for years that the elderly give up their Medicare and Social Security to fund tax cuts for the poor beleaguered corporations, so it is not out of line that they, and some Democrats, believe the elderly should pay to relieve corporate responsibility for training out-of-work Americans after killing more of their jobs.
The elderly, soon-to-be displaced workers, and all Americans for that matter, should be livid that the people who wrote the trade deal in secret, big pharma and other corporations, will make even greater profits at the expense of American jobs, environmental and financial regulations, and the elderly’s Medicare. Apparently, it has become so normal to make other Americans pay to increase corporate profits, that only 61 House Democrats see what President Obama and the Senate refuse to even acknowledge; at least out loud. America is under complete control and run by corporations to such an extent that big business can rape and pillage the population with impunity simply because the rich are well aware that only a handful of Democrats are unafraid of standing up to their thievery.
It is worth noting here, right now, that since the provisions of the TTP were written in abject secrecy by corporations over the past three years, it is highly unlikely that, like the entire Congress, President Obama has read much more than a very brief summary of the TTP’s provisions. As more than one pundit has acknowledged, the President and Democrats understand that, with only about a year-and-a-half left of his presidency, Republicans are not going to pass anything that might be attributed positively to President Obama’s legacy. A significant benefit to corporate America like the Trans-Pacific Partnership will add to the President’s legacy, and because this is corporate America, it is left to the people, whether it is the elderly forfeiting their Medicare insurance benefits, or the poor forfeiting Medicaid and food stamps, to ensure that a positive corporate profit legacy will be at the expense of anyone but the people that wrote and will benefit from TPP; corporate America.

AIG Founder Suing For Not Being Allowed To Fail, Demanding Billions

Featured image by Matt Stoller. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stoller/2907411559The founder of AIG is suing the government for billions for his firm being bailed out in 2008.

Poll: 97% Of Violent Wingnuts Want All American Mosques Burned To The Ground

Poll: 97% Of Violent Right Wingers Want All American Mosques Burned To The Ground (SCREENSHOTS)
It isn’t muslims who are preaching violence here. It’s these 'christians' who want to burn places of worship that they don’t like to the ground.

Meet 5 Republican chickenhawks who want to send troops abroad — but never served in the military

Ted Cruz speaks with CNN (screen grab)
All would send ground troops to fight ISIL.

Father Of Dead Soldier Skewers Tom Cotton For Being A War-Hungry, Money-Hungry Hawk

Image via Gage Skidmore
This once conservative father of a dead solider perfectly put Tom Cotton in his rightful place.

Florida Republicans Have Just Signed Death Warrants For Almost A Million Of The State’s Working Poor

Florida Republicans May Have Just Signed Death Warrants For Almost A Million Of The State’s Working PoorFlorida: The state where the Republicans want their poor to suffer mightily.

Federal Judges Throw Out Virginia Republican’s Totally-Not-Racist ‘Redistricting’ Map

Featured image/Composite: Video screen grab/WTVR | Scared "gerrymander"/Pixabay | Gavel/ImgKid.
How can Republicans get elected when most of us won’t vote for them? Redistricting! But here’s one thing they can’t get away with.

The Supreme Court Just Told The NRA To Go Fuck Themselves, And Rightfully So

The Supreme Court Just Told The NRA To Go F*ck Themselves, And Rightfully So
The Supreme Court just sided with the Constitution…

NRA Begins Vicious Attack On Survivors And Victims Of 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre

Featured image by Brett Weinstein. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nrbelex/471661031/The NRA is going after the survivors and victims of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, in an attempt to further their “moar gunz all the time” agenda.

NRA Outrage: Gun Restrictions On Mentally Ill And Domestic Abusers Are Just Unfair

NRA Outrage: Gun Restrictions On Mentally Ill And Domestic Abusers Are Just Unfair
If restrictions are placed on those with psychological issues, they may refuse treatment to keep their guns. Domestic abusers may have only slapped their wife. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

Ammosexual Leader: ‘The 2nd Amendment Is About President, People Who Want To Take Our Rights’

Ammosexual Leader: ‘The 2nd Amendment Is About President, People Who Want To Take Our Rights’ (AUDIO)The head of Gun Owners of America is at it again. As usual, he blames Democrats for all of his fantasies of taking his guns away.

The Duggars: The real ‘bad guys’ are the people who blew our conspiracy of silence about our pervert son

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar - Duggar family Facebook

Man Who Advertised Six-Year-Old Girl On Craigslist Pleads Guilty To Child Rape

Featured image credit: video screen shot, KOMO NEWSWhile statistics show that most child molesters are never brought to justice, this disgusting creep is going to jail for a long, long time.